MS in Vision Science

Master of Science students receive a broad education in a variety of areas of vision science as well as training in the concepts and methods used in both basic and clinical research. A total of 40 semester credit hours in courses or research is required. In addition, students must complete a thesis and oral defense. The combined OD/MS degree program is designed for students interested in conducting independent, original research as an adjunct to their optometric education, including those aspiring to a career in academia.

Qualified first year OD students at the SUNY College of Optometry may apply for admission into the Graduate Program in Vision Science leading to the joint OD/MS degree. OD students apply to the OD/MS program during the Fall semester of their first year in the OD Program. Accepted students enter the MS degree program in the Spring Semester of their first year. Elective time during the regular academic year and summers is devoted to graduate courses and research. This enables students to fulfill both OD and MS degree requirements within four years.

Students who are accepted into the OD/MS program do not pay any additional tuition for the MS degree portion during the four years they are enrolled in the OD program.

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Requirements for Admission to the OD/MS Program in Vision Science
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To be considered for admission to the OD/MS Program in Vision Science, an applicant must have completed the following requirements:

  • Enrolled as a full-time OD student at the SUNY College of Optometry
  • Submission of OAT scores
  • Three letters of recommendation submitted to the Admissions Office. Letters from past research mentors are optional, but can strengthen your application.
  • Official transcripts of all college and postgraduate courses.
  • Applicants should contact the Admissions Office to have any test scores, letters of recommendation or college transcripts originally provided in their OD program application transferred to their OD/MS Program application.
  • Applicants must meet with potential advisor(s) to discuss possible research projects prior to applying to the OD/MS Program. Applicants must list a preferred advisor and provide a synopsis of a proposed research project in their applications.

Application Deadline

The deadline for submitting the completed application to the OD/MS Program is January 4, 2021.

The Graduate Program in Vision Science provides comprehensive research training that positions our students to achieve career success and make significant contributions to the field. It combines a rigorous, intellectual program of study and research with an interactive, collegial sense of community.

  • We have developed a flexible curriculum that can be tailored to the needs of our students, who come to our program with a broad range of interests and from diverse educational backgrounds. Courses stress analysis and discussion of the primary literature and provide training in key skills necessary for a research career in academia or industry.
  • Students can choose from approximately 25 faculty mentors for their thesis research. Look through a complete list of our program’s research faculty, which includes links to their individual or lab web pages.
  • From first year lab rotations, the qualifying exam, and the thesis defense, students receive regular guidance and mentoring from faculty and are evaluated at important milestones to ensure that they progress successfully through the program. Read more about mentoring and milestones of our graduate students.
  • In addition, students attend journal clubs, weekly research colloquia, and additional annual community events, such as the VisioNYC seminar series, which brings together dozens of vision scientists in the New York metropolitan area our spring retreat held in upstate New York.

The Graduate Program in Vision Science operates within the Graduate Center for Vision Research (GCVR). For a concise overview of the program, including its admission requirements, degree requirements and curriculum, please download our Graduate Policy Document or Doctoral Student Handbook.

For more information on the Graduate Program in Vision Science, please contact:

Debra Berger
Graduate Center for Vision Research
SUNY College of Optometry
33 West 42nd Street
New York, NY 10036
Phone: (212) 938-5540
Email: dberger@sunyopt.edu